The gay sero-discordant couple (one partner is HIV positive, and the other is HIV negative) are being promoted as “role models” by the production company they make bareback porn for.
Porn stars Brad McGuire and James Roscoe from Treasure Island Media, who have sex without condoms together as well as with others, are believed to be the first sero-discordant barebacking couple to be advertised in such a way.
The announcement has created a huge storm of controversy in the Porn, Safe Sex and Health industries worldwide, who fear the promotion may inspire a rise in unsafe sexual practices, leading to HIV and STI infections.
Others have praised the move, saying it reclaims and reinforces the rights of the individual to make an informed choice about the sex they want to have.
The Bay Area Reporter relayed a statement from the production house’s owner and director, Paul Morris, in which he spoke of eradicating the “HIV positive closet”.
“We know exactly what we’re doing and we will not allow reactionary individuals and organizations to dictate our behavior. James and Brad are fitting role models for young gay men. They are living their lives with honesty and integrity,” Morris said.
Coming out of the poz closet signals, for each man who has had the experience, “a shift in the nature of the struggle: the virus is a fact of life for the poz man, no more or less manageable than other chronic life-long factors,” he adds. “The real battle is against prejudice, ignorance and unfounded and useless fear.”
Barebacking porn (depicting sex without condoms) has been around since the beginning of the industry, but has come under heavy fire in a post-AIDS world where it is seen as unethical to produce (as it puts the sex entertainers at risk), and detrimental as it inspires unprotected sexual behaviours.
The active promotion of a ‘poz-neg’ couple as role models and featuring them in bareback porn has been labelled an unfortunate tactic used to drive sales with no consideration for the harm they’re doing in the community’s response to HIV. The productions draw attention to unprotected sexual practices without educating people (especially those that are sexually inexperienced) about the potential consequences, say health agencies.
The Australian PASH study (Pleasure And Sexual Health study), which comprehensively surveyed the sexual practices of mostly gay men, was released yesterday in Melbourne. Its representatives chatted to gay radio station JOY 94.9FM about their research, and the news of the sero-discordant porn stars.
“This company has made it clear they’re pairing up a consenting and aware HIV-positive and an HIV-negative couple, and so it raises interesting questions… the same questions that seem to be raised in the PASH study about the kinds of sex gay men are really having that doesn’t involve a condom,” former sexual health worker Daniel Reeders said.
“It’s important to say that most men use condoms, have got the Safe Sex message, and are engaging in safe sex activities. That’s obviously promising. The study has also shown that all the things we thought were big factors in increasing HIV infection such as the practice of sero-sorting or the being under the influence of drugs during sex, aren’t major factors as we expected.”
Serosorting refers to the practice of gay men choosing their sexual partners based on a person’s known or perceived HIV status. The study shows that some HIV negative men will forgo condoms when having sex with other men they believe to be negative.
“Consenting and aware adults are making informed decisions about their own sexual health and sexual practices. It should probably should start with a conversation about making informed decisions, which if they are going to go down the road of sex without condoms, should include the possibility of HIV infection. But the study shows people are reluctant to discuss HIV status for fear of rejection by their potential partner,” said PASH researcher Michael Hurley.
For more details from the PASH Study click here.